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Georgia Supreme Court reinstates 'heartbeat' abortion ban

The Georgia Supreme Court ruling blocked a lower court decision issued last week finding that the state's LIFE Act is unconstitutional. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/8f8c01cedec5ba844bb14bb5c7400885/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The Georgia Supreme Court ruling blocked a lower court decision issued last week finding that the state's LIFE Act is unconstitutional. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Georgia's Supreme Court had reinstated the state's six-week "heartbeat" abortion ban after it was overturned by a lower court last week.

In a brief, one-page ruling issued Wednesday, the state's high court granted an emergency petition filed by attorneys representing Gov. Brian Kemp seeking to put a Nov. 15 decision issued by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney on hold.

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"The State of Georgia's Emergency Petition for Supersedeas seeking a stay of the order of the Superior Court of Fulton County in the above-styled action is hereby granted," the order reads.

McBurney ruled that Georgia's Georgia's LIFE Act was unconstitutional when drafted, voted upon, and enacted. Kemp signed the bill into law in 2019.

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"Everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments -- federal, state, or local -- to ban abortions before viability," McBurney said.

The law bans abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, at roughly six weeks -- before most women are aware they are pregnant. It also redefined the word "person" in Georgia to include an embryo or fetus at any stage of development.

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The law had been blocked from taking effect, until the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this summer. The American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of Georgia, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective filed a lawsuit arguing the ban violates the right to privacy.

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The state has yet to file an appeal seeking to permanently overturn the Fulton Court ruling.

Feminist Women's Health Center Director Kwajelyn Jackson said the legal battle to maintain abortion access in Georgia would continue.

"We are grateful to our staff and providers who worked really hard over the past week to care for as many patients as we could," she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We know that our patients deserve more and are hopeful that when we go back to court we will be vindicated."

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Demonstrators pray outside U.S. Supreme Court, praise rulings on prayer, abortion

Faith Adams of Bangor, Maine, kneels in prayer at a praise and worship service outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 27, days after the court ruled to overturn the Roe vs. Wade abortion case. Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

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